On the way to the girls favorite playground (really big slide) my seven year old daughter pointed out an old cemetery to her sisters. After the shrieks and giggles passed my wife told them how their great grandparents were buried there and said we’d stop to see on our way home. So I spent a late Sunday afternoon with my family in a spooky old graveyard. First we stopped by the wall where my wife’s grand parents were. My eldest daughter was full of questions while the younger two were busy dragging ass and inquiring about the possibility of ice cream. Then we were off to a field of headstones to find my wife’s great grandparents. This is about the time that I began to think about John Steinbeck‘s grave.
I had always known that Steinbeck was buried here, after all I went to school all my life in “Steinbeck country”. Much of his work was mandatory reading in junior and senior high for me, which is why I only just recently opened a copy of East tof Eden. I began to think to myself that we should seek this grave out and look at it. I don’t know why really, I didn’t think his spirit would be hanging around, hoping for some company or that I would find inspiration by seeing it. I just wanted to.
Well, I didn’t mention my desire to find his headstone to the family and we went on our merry way traipsing though the sod that had been nourished all these years by rotting corpses. But then, on our way out of the cemetery grounds I spotted a big old rusty sign that read: “John Steinbeck” with an arrow indicating which way one might go to find him. Shit, I knew I’d find him! But it was too late, the girls were getting tired there was still ice cream to be had. So we kept driving.
I still kind of regret not stopping. We live close and the opportunity will come again, but I won’t take it. It seems like there are some things that reasoning can only dissuade you from doing, as will be the case with this lark.